Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Spartan Warrior v2

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Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Unsurprisingly, as the months have gone on, the base Spartan Warrior figure from BossFightShop has dwindled in available stock until it eventually vanished entirely.  Considering the backbone of the entire Virtuvian HACKS human forces are made up of the Spartans, this seems like a problem for the human race as the Gorgons press their attack!

Have no fear… Boss Fight Studio went back to the factory and had a fantastic Spartan Warrior update created, with just some minor tweaks.

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Keep in mind that there are collectors out there with countless Spartans already, and many of them probably love the consistency in deco with the armor, swords, and shields.  For that reason, Boss Fight didn’t tweak the accessory or armor colors at all.  What you see with each Spartan Warrior version 2 is essentially the same as what you saw with the first release Spartan, just now, these are actually available for sale!  Go figure.

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However, in order to add some variety, what the Boss Fight folks did was give the second version Spartan a slightly darker skin tone and a black hair and beard.  The result is a figure which blends perfectly with his 299 fellow soldiers on your display shelf, but also adds some uniqueness and difference to the soldiers underneath the armor.  It really is the perfect combination.

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Because this figure is so similar to the one already released, it’s tough to find new avenues to explore with an additional review.  Trust me when I say the sculpting and articulation are just as impeccable now as they were a year ago, and actually I kind of like the darker color of the skin and hair better on this second version than I did the first time around.  This Spartan blends really nicely with both the Spartan Warrior and the Ultimate Spartan and I have no doubt that even folks who do not aggressively army build will soon have displays full of Spartan Warriors (as well they should).

Accessories

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There isn’t much to talk about here, the accessories are all (mostly) the same.  The only real difference is that this Spartan Warrior shield is one of the new shields with a larger hand grip, which allows male hands to hold it more effectively than the previous version.  Beyond that, the accessory compliment and paint deco are the same deal.

This figure is pretty much the base figure for the Vitruvian HACKS Series 01 assortment, and it is spectacular.  Anyone who needs more Spartan Warriors should not fear in scooping this one up, and anyone who does not need more Spartan Warriors definitely needs new Spartan Warriors, they just haven’t realized it yet.  SPAAAARTTAAA!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio Vitruvian HACKS Medusa v2

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Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

What is about the Vitruvian HACKS figures that just brings a smile to my face every time I get a new one in my hands, even if they are ostensibly, just repaints?  There is an ingrained sense of quality and craftsmanship that just doesn’t exist with many other lines out there, where each application of paint deco, each accessory choice, and each design based decision is something actually thought about and executed as a part of an overall design aesthetic, not just stuff thrown at the wall, hoping that some stick.

This repaint of Medusa takes the familiar design cues from the first, but goes in some different directions.

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The skin tone here is a pale mixture of green and brown (at least it appears that way my eyes, I’m notoriously color blind) which separates it distinctly from the previous version.  Offsetting the skin tone is a dark snake hair application which adds some great deco variety.

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Along the surface of the tail, the scales and pattern continue to stand out very nicely, adding awesome detail to the rough texture of the sculpt there, and no matter how many of these Gorgons I get in hand, I continue to be utterly blown away by the engineering involved to make one of these figures.  They are truly and utterly spectacular.  The articulation is smooth and flawless, the joints stay together for play and display, yet are also fairly easily removable for customization.

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This version of Medusa has some starkly different armor than the previous version.  It’s still a very metallic shade of silver, but where the previous armor was worn down by some spectacular paint applications providing an awesome sense of battle worn metal, this armor is clean and unmarred.  The effect is the opposite of the previous armor, but no less impressive.  One of the many things that Boss Fight Studio does right is the various shades of these colors.  This armor isn’t just “silver” it’s a fantastic, resonant SHADE of silver, and picking that exact right color is an art and a science.  Anyone who looks at the various accessory packs or figures can tell that the people designing these things are doing so with meticulous care and attention to detail.

Accessories

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Along with the armor paint changes, Medusa version 2 also comes with the same snake knife and snake whip as the original, but also with some minor tweaks.  On the cosmetic side, the wraps are black here instead of the green/brown of the original version.  On the structural side, the weapons are firmer material, which is especially cool for the snake knife, which was a little soft and floppy the first time around.

At first blush the weapons look nearly identical, but there are some critical changes that help.

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This figure is fantastic.  I own three of the original Medusa (cannibalized to make one longer tail) and countless Gorgons at this point, yet I am still immersed and captivated by the quality of this update.  I think ultimately, just from an aesthetic perspective, I do enjoy the vibrant green of the original Medusa a little more, but there are certainly qualities to this one that are great, too.

And for those of you folks who don’t feel like you need another Medusa, I assume you’ve grabbed some Grab Bags along the way… grab one of those spare Gorgon heads and make this one another soldier.  It’s worth considering!

Available for sale now at BossFightShop.com!

Boss Fight Studio drops the hammer with their Knight of Accord

Hooooly wow.

For the past ten months (give or take), collectors and fanboys have been enjoying their Vitruvian HACKS figures, recreating ancient Sparta’s battle against the nefarious Gorgon Horde.  Well, Boss Fight Studio is poised to take this timeless battle to the next level with their debut of the Knight of Accord, one of their first official reveals for their upcoming fantasy action figure line!

Yes, we did see some test shot reveals at GraniteCon last year, but this figure looks to be much more polished and in a finished state and WOW.  Spectacular.

Expected to launch in the fall of 2017, this Series 02 of the already super popular Vitruvian HACKS line is going to another level.  The detail in the sculpting, the expertly crafted paint applications…this is one fantastic looking early sample, and if we’ve learned anything from previous reveals, unlike the mass market toylines, in many cases the final version is a pretty close match to what we see up front.

It looks incredible.  Definitely keep watching Boss Fight Studio on Facebook and support their work on the fantasy series by hitting up BossFightShop.com and snagging some Series 01 gear!  Heck, pre-orders are rolling for Wave 6 as well.  Lots of good stuff happening, and that means GREAT stuff for collectors.

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More G.I. Joe Convention Exclusives revealed

I could have sworn I posted this a couple of days ago, but I’ll be damned if I can find it.  My bad.

This week the G.I. Joe Collectors Club has revealed two more 2017 G.I. Joe Convention Exclusive figures.  A couple of days ago we got our first look at the B.A.T. Squad Leader, apparently inspired by the ’91 version of the Battle Android Trooper.  He’s got a newly tooled head, but is pretty much just B.A.T. v1 from the neck down.  The choice is a bit curious, as one would assume that folks might want to army build this version, and as a squad leader, I figure he’s the only one of this type in the boxed set.

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Which of course begs the question… what will the standard troopers look like?  The 2003 repaint?  Hopefully we’ll find out soon.

Along with the B.A.T. Squad Leader, today we also got a look at Knockdown, who appears to come with General Mayhem’s helmet and a newly retooled version of his crazy anti-aircraft pistol.  Not sure I’d consider that a worthy investment in tooling dollars, but there you go.

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More to come, keep checking GIJoeCon.com for the latest intel!

G.I. Joe Convention Theme Announced and first figure previews

Happy Friday!  Earlier this week the G.I. Joe Collectors Club promised the first reveals from the 2017 G.I. Joe Convention, and today they delivered!

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2017 G.I. Joe Convention theme includes BattleForce: 2000 and B.A.T.S.!

Interesting choices.  I’m all in for BF:2000, but do we really need more B.A.T.S.?  Ehhh… yeah.  Not sure about that, especially at convention set prices.  But we’ll wait for some figure previews to make final judgments.

Until then, the Collectors Club has revealed Battleforce: 2000 Maverick!

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Keep watching GIJoeCon.com for the latest updates!

FORCE OF BATTLE 2000!

We’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the G.I. JOE BF 2000 team with this untold
tale of the original team members from a recently declassified special mission.

The G.I. JOE BF 2000 team is the walking, breathing proving grounds for tomorrow’s battlefield technology today!
These highly trained specialists are entrusted with one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art prototype weapons. Their mission
is to field-test experimental equipment under battlefield conditions.

COBRA has developed a new laser weapon system so dangerous that it threatens the safety of the entire planet!
The G.I. JOE: BF 2000 team is called into action and must travel through the Pacific Northwest into British Columbia to dismantle the operation.
What they don’t know is that COBRA is ready for them with a battalion of their upgraded B.A.T. (Battle Android Troopers) guarding their base.
This G.I. JOE team will be fighting against insurmountable odds, and must pull their individual specialties together to battle these deadly threats.
Will the cold and calculated programming of the COBRA B.A.T. SQUAD LEADER be the end of this G.I. JOE team?

Meanwhile, on the 12″ side we have what looks like a combination Adventure Team/G.I. Joe Jungle Fighter collection!  Check out the first image below.

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Back in in the war G.I. Joe was a specialist serving as a Marine Jungle Fighter. During an undocumented mission in and undocumented area,
something went terribly wrong and they were being over run. As he was evacuating due to an impending air strike, he fell into some sort of ancient
buried temple that appeared to have something to do with the worship of snakes. Using his flamethrower for illumination, he realized that…
the snakes were still there! As he was fighting his way out through the snakes something caught his eye, a golden cobra shaped staff.
There was no time to get to it out. The airstrike was inbound and he had to evac!

For years this memory haunted Joe and led him to his current career in the Adventure Team as their Jungle Explorer.
Where was the old temple? Was that golden staff still there? Did it really happen, or was it just a hallucination?
He spent years researching and searching for this lost temple. Now he thinks he has finally found the answers!

This year’s 12” Convention Set is based on the vintage Marine Jungle Fighter and the Adventure Team, Jungle Survival accessory set.
It comes with: Painted Head Figure; Marine Jungle Uniform; Belt; Canteen and Cover; .45 and Holster; Boonie Hat; Vinyl Shoulder Radio;
Flame Thrower; Tall Brown Boots; M-16 Rifle; Machete and Scabbard and Dog tag; Flocked Head Figure; Jungle Survival Uniform;
Tall Black Boots; Belt with Canteen; two Snake Anti-Venom Pouches; Pith Helmet; Yellow Short Radio; First Aid Kit; Compass;
Machete and Scabbard; Tranquillizer Rifle; Equipment Storage Crate; Dog Tag and Golden Cobra Staff.

It also comes with a Mini-Comic with a surprise ending!

The next evolution of military action figures – Marauder Valkyries Reviewed

Ever since getting my first few figures as part of the Kickstarter shipment a couple of weeks back, I’ve been feeding for more and starving to get a review posted.  Well, this past week I got both accomplished!

As soon as I got my grubby mitts on the first few Valkyries figures, I immediately needed more and made a purchase from MarauderInc.com within a few days.  Once I received that shipment, any love I had for this new generation of Task Force figures and accessories only sky-rocketed.

I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface with how cool these figures are, and I’ve spent hours swapping parts, gluing gear down and just mixing and matching.  It’s pretty astounding just how incredible these toys are.  Designed to near perfection by Boss Fight Studio, with the folks at Marauder developing a spectacular concept, these truly are the best of all worlds.

Check out my review at the Marauder Task Force Review page, or the direct link below.  Spoiler Warning – I’m pretty much in love.

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Marauder Task Force Valkyries

How can I properly express just what lengths Marauder “Gun Runners” has come in the past few years?  Evolving from manufacturing and selling unique 1:18 scale weapons to distributing diorama accessories, then finally, through their first successful Kickstarter they started developing their Task Force action figures.

Since then, their second Kickstarter for the Task Force Valkyries was successful as well, and they’ve simply taken their formula for enhancing 1:18 scale action figures and spun it completely into a second stratosphere.

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With the first run of Task Force figures, I was suitably impressed with what Marauder had accomplished, actually designing and producing (with the help of the best toy designers in the business, Boss Fight Studio) a fully functional action figure line, yet they were essentially the same figure buck and many of the same accessories, just spun out in some different colors.  While certainly exciting, I saw them mostly continuing as enhancements to an already large roster of 1:18 military figures.  What a difference a couple of years makes.  With what Marauder has done over the past 18 months alongside their additional Kickstarter is to add an immeasurable amount of versatility, customizability and variability to what was already a fantastic formula.  Thanks in no small part to the addition of several new female action figure styles, new head sculpts, new arms and legs, and many new paint decos, we now have a veritable barracks of different combinations with the ability to build out any number of combinations of strike teams.

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Marauder Task Force is no longer an enhancement, it’s an evolution, and things may very well never be the same again.

Looking at the female figures first, thanks to the sculpting of Boss Fight Studio, we have some of the finest built female figures in 1:18 military history.  Fantastic layered sculpting throughout the uniforms, nearly seamless armor enhancements, and the unique “faux-ring” articulation scheme gives us tough and rugged female troopers to serve alongside our roster of male soldiers that we’ve already amassed.  Even with the elaborate sculpting, the articulation is absolutely top notch, with great range of motion in every joint.

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Along with the standard military buck, Marauder also included some spare arms without armor and developed a brand new t-shirt torso which is spectacular, especially for how comparatively plain it is.  The arms are sculpted narrow, but really well articulated, with flexible fingers and wrists that can hold all manner of weapons without fear of breakage.

Additional female head sculpts are incredible as well, with various skin tones, hair designs (and hair colors) allowing for a massive amount of variation here, too.

To equip the female figures there are several different versions of combat vests now available as well, from a plain flak vest (ready for pouches currently sold or that came with the previous Kickstarter), to a great armored vest, and a very nicely sculpted additional heavier combat vest as well.

Along with the Valkyrie female figures, Marauder also included the fantastic Stedi-Cam gunner which added several great new elements to the Task Force collection.  Not only did it give us a very cool new weapons system including the gun, armored mask, and armored plate chest (with amazingly engineered web gear) but it also provided some added short sleeved arms and non-armored legs, which has provided a wealth of great variability to the existing Task Force collection.  The new limbs match the fantastic sculpting style of the rest of the figure with amazing articulation and some great new flexibility with existing tooling.

But let’s talk more about the web gear and chest plate.  The chest plate connects to the web gear via two of the standard Task Force pegs, which means you can take it off, then use the underlying web gear to mount pouches, holsters, and whatever else you can dig out of your Task Force storage bins.  For some reason I wasn’t aware of this neat feature, and it was a very pleasant surprise when I got the Stedi-Cam Gunner in hand.

As a great added bonus, Marauder has dedicated a wealth of different plastic color options (and decals!) for the Stedi-Cam gunner gear as well, really ramping up the potential for great mix and match variation.

What may be the coolest aspect of the Stedi-Cam Gunner, though, is the camouflage paint scheme.  This intricately decoed camouflage pattern is among the best I’ve ever seen at this scale, and the way Marauder has carried it over to a female figure as well is exceptionally cool.

As you read through this review, you’ll notice that I’ve grouped collections of accessories together, mostly because that’s how they were offered with the Kickstarter.  Keep in mind, though, through the wonders of MarauderInc.com you can pick and choose any number of thousands of variations of figures, heads, gear and other add ons which essentially makes the combinations nearly infinite.  If you see a figure you like in this review, but think it would look better with different gear, you have that option right at your fingertips.

Keep in mind I haven’t even talked about a number of new male head sculpts in different hair (and beard) colors, not to mention all the new paint schemes and additional new accessories including a fantastic flight helmet with translucent goggles.  Don’t even get me started on the baseball hat…it’s made from a fantastic flexible rubber, which lets it fit seamlessly over many different heads, and you don’t get the typical gap or stiff fit that you see when it’s been tried elsewhere.  There are bandoliers, belts, a duffel bag, a weapon sleeve, backpacks, baseball bats, the list goes on and on, and each new accessory comes with some level of customization available, whether its decals or holes for the standard Task Force plug.  There is just so much to talk about here, it’s very tough to frame a review around it, so I’m trying to look at this from a holistic perspective.

The figures are also incredibly easily customizable with simply swapped ball joints at the hips, the waist, the head, and even relatively easy to remove arms.  Boiling and popping is the best way to ensure smooth lower arm removal, though you have to crack the torso to pull off the shoulders.

One comment, because I know people will ask… yes, there are a lot of small parts, and yes I very strongly recommend finding a combination you like and gluing the pouches and accessories down to ensure maximum playability.  This stuff is not expensive.  You can certainly beef up on more pouches and vests and feel confident that dedicating a few key small accessories to a particular look isn’t going to break the bank, and will only make you happier as you pose and play with the figure you’ve designed.

In short, the improvements and enhancements made to the Task Force line since its inception are impressive and downright amazing.  It’s a completely different line now than it was even 18 months ago and has grown into a world of its own.  I am fully in love with this evolution of the Task Force, and have already made follow up purchases after the Kickstarter, and I’m poised to make some more.  I cannot wait to see where things continue from here and I’m greatly looking forward to the exo-suit Kickstarter coming this year from Marauder.

Great stuff, head over to MarauderInc.com and beef up your barracks now!  And if you have any questions about the product or just want to show off your creations, the Marauder Task Force Facebook Group is the place to be.  A ton of awesome looking customs and a great community willing to answer all sorts of questions.  MJ and Marauder Ruben are always there to interact and listen to suggestions as well.  Hit it up!

Exclusive debut – John Royle Gatefold cover from G.I. Joe: RAH 237, 238, and 239

Wow, nothing brightens up a Friday afternoon like some spectacular new art from IDW cover artist John Royle!  He’s been doing some really terrific variant covers for G.I. Joe titles recently, and this latest one is the mother lode.

It’s a three-issue gatefold with pencils by John Royle, inks by Jagdish and colors by Juan Fernandez.  It frankly looks… amazing!  Check it out for the very first time right here, and if you love these covers, definitely let IDW Publishing know.  I think they’re some really fun, energetic and well orchestrated covers, and I try and go out of my way to get these issues.  Great stuff.  To see more of John’s terrific artwork (G.I. Joe and otherwise) you can follow him on Instagram or hit up JohnRoyleArt.com!

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GeneralsJoes Reviews 2016 Heavy Duty and Stiletto

The holidays are past us and I’ve gotten a couple more 2016 G.I. Joe reviews under my belt… Heavy Duty and Stiletto can now be found on the G.I. Joe: 50th Anniversary review page.

Along with this, with Chris from the Full Force Podcast’s help, a video review has been completed to compliment them and that can be found below, or embedded within the review itself.

Enjoy!

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